Every year, millions upon millions of pounds of food waste are disposed of in New York City alone, yet more than a million New Yorkers are also going without nourishment for themselves or their families. This disparity is what caused the team at City Harvest to set up their nonprofit organization in 1982. Since then, the organization has become the city’s largest food rescue operation. In 2022 alone, City Harvest will rescue over 100 million pounds of provisions and deliver it to venues in need throughout the city’s five boroughs to help stave off hunger for nearly 1.5 million New Yorkers.
But operations like City Harvest cannot thrive on food donations alone. That’s why supporters such as Colbeck Capital Management and the firm’s co-founder Jason Colodne are so critical to daily operations. Their support of events such as Camp City Harvest, designed to bring awareness to the food crisis in New York City, helps fund efforts including everything from community education to food transportation. The event, held June 15, 2022, raised enough funds to help provide meals to over 1 million people in need, amplifying the efforts of an organization already making a dent in the city’s hunger struggles.
City Harvest’s website explains: “We recognized the practical purpose that this surplus food could serve if directed to New Yorkers who needed it, filling the plates of the working mom who had trouble making ends meet at month’s end, the senior in the apartment upstairs living on a fixed income, or the family around the corner coping with a large and unexpected medical bill.”
In addition to monetary donations and volunteers who give their labor and time to the cause, City Harvest benefits from a network of restaurants and food-service suppliers from whom they harvest leftover food that would otherwise go to waste. These items are picked up and transported to food pantries, soup kitchens, and partners who can use them to help feed members of their communities. The goal is not only to rescue food, but to ensure that they provide high-quality, nutritious meals so recipients’ eating habits don’t suffer during times when they can’t provide food for themselves.
City Harvest remains deeply involved with the communities it serves and keeps aware of events in the sprawling city. For example, the organization rescued nearly 100,000 pounds of food from the 2022 Summer Fancy Food Show held at the Javits Center. The team worked alongside volunteers and staff from the Specialty Food Association to recover both perishable and nonperishable goods and high-end products so they could be put to use throughout the community for those in need.
As challenging times hit the city due to the COVID-19 pandemic, City Harvest’s workers and volunteers didn’t slow their dedication to the cause. According to City Harvest’s chief executive Jilly Stephens, “We have rescued and delivered over 1 billion pounds of food in our nearly 40-year history. More than 250 million of those pounds have been just since the start of the pandemic.” The pandemic compounded difficult situations for families and individuals already struggling with access to funds for food, with “2 out of every 5 households struggling to make ends meet.” City Harvest’s efforts helped bolster food pantries and other emergency food programs throughout the city as they struggled to meet the demand from people from all walks of life.
Central to operations is City Harvest’s Cohen Community Food Rescue Center, where the excess food salvaged from restaurants and similar services is taken for processing, sorting, and distribution. In early 2022, City Harvest opened its newest facility, in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, in a 150,000-square-foot historic building. Moving into a space much larger than it previously occupied will help the organization continue to service the city with a higher volume of food and food storage options. Multilevel spaces include areas for loading, food storage, collection efforts, offices, and events.
Ongoing donations to City Harvest, like those from Jason Colodne and Colbeck Capital Management, serve as fuel to help the organization function at such a high level of efficiency. With over 20 trucks used to collect food throughout the city, all services are included for those in need. A proud member of Feeding America, City Harvest relies on support from organizations like Colbeck Capital Management to continue to fight against hunger throughout New York City. According to the organization’s website, every dollar donated can help feed two New Yorkers for an entire day.